Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tutorial Tuesday: A Guide to Stretch Fabric


Why do fabrics stretch?
Stretch fabrics (knit fabrics) are made using interlaced looped fibres rather than woven fibres .  The “knit” or loops give the fabric some of its stretch, alongside elastic fibres which have stretchy properties themselves, for example lycra/spandex/elastane (3 names for the same fibre), rayon/viscose (2 names for the same fibre) or polyester.

What is stretch and how is it calculated?
The stretch of fabrics are expressed either as “2 way” or “4 way”.  2 way stretch is horizontal, running across the fabric from selvedge to selvedge.  4 way stretch is both horizontal AND vertical, running both across the fabric and up/down the fabric - 
Stretch is expressed as a percentage and is quite simply calculated – 

Stretched fabric width - Original fabric width
-----------------------------------------------------------     x 100  =  Stretch percentage
                  Original fabric width

For example… If you have a 10cm square piece of fabric, stretch it across it’s width until you feel resistance.  This fabric stretches to 15cm so the horizontal stretch is 50% 
(15 - 10 = 5, divided by 10 = 0.5, multiplied by 100 = 50%). 

Now repeat this process from top to bottom of the fabric.  This piece of fabric stretches to 13cm, so the vertical stretch is 30% 
(13 - 10 = 3, divided by 10 = 0.3, multiplied by 100 = 30%).

So this fabric has 4 way stretch, written as 50%/30%.

If there is no vertical stretch then the fabric has 2 way stretch, written as 50%

Simple!

What can I use different stretch fabrics for?

Knit fabrics can vary greatly in stretch, even within a specific category of knit fabric, but in general the following is a good guide 

The type of fabric you use for your project will depend on the requirements of the garment.  Your pattern will normally specify which types of fabric you can use and any required stretch.  As you get more confident sewing with stretch fabrics you can also use them for patterns designed for woven fabrics (see these articles for some great hints and tips for converting patterns from woven to stretch fabric –



For tighter fitting clothes like leggings/sportswear, 4 way stretch is essential as the fabric will need to stretch both ways (e.g. around the legs and up and down the knee joint).
For looser fitting items or for fitted items which don’t need to give, 2 way stretch will usually suffice, but you can still use 4 way stretch fabrics.
The advantage to 4 way stretch is that you can use the stretch/pattern in either direction.  2 way stretch will offer more stability for fitted clothing, similar to a woven fabric, but will also give you some room to breathe!

For more information about knit fabrics, plus hints, tips and tutorials for sewing with them, see the Girl Charlee Pinterest page

If you need any help or advice regarding stretch fabrics we're happy to help!  You can call us (01635 522530), email us (sales@girlcharlee.co.uk) or add a comment to our blog.  We also provide free samples of our fabrics so you can check them out before you buy!  You can order samples through www.girlcharlee.co.uk by setting up an account and adding the fabrics you want to your stash, then requesting swatches from there.
For more ideas, patterns and tutorials, follow Girl Charlee's boards on Pinterest.

Don't forget to sign up for our email updates to keep up to date with all our New Fabrics, Sales, Giveaways and all our Knitty News! Click HERE to sign up!

Happy Sewing!

~ Mark & The Girl Charlee Team

Friday, 15 September 2017

New Baste + Gather Patterns & New Stellar Fabrics!


Today we have 2 stellar fabrics (literally) with our new Galaxy Cotton Jersey and our popular Stars on Navy Cotton Lycra back in stock.

Click your favourite below or see all our New Arrivals HERE.



We are also excited to have 4 new patterns from Baste & Gather available to download.

Baste + Gather bring you modern and functional sewing patterns that you’ll keep in your stash for years to come. Their designs feature simple lines with a surprising detail – a unique way of arranging the pieces, an unexpected cutout or a fun construction detail. 
See all our Indie Designer patterns HERE.
Sign up to our email newsletter to keep up to date with all our new fabrics, competitions/ giveaways and all the Knitty News! The sign up box is HERE or on our website


Happy Sewing!


~ Mark & The Girl Charlee Team

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tutorial Tuesday: Ruffle Sleeve Dress

One of this seasons hottest fashion trends has been vintage-inspired ruffle sleeves, so we were thrilled to find this Easy Ruffle Sleeve Dress Tutorial from Autumn Baldwin of It's Always Autumn

Using Autumn's FREE Classic Tee Sewing Pattern, you can create this adorable ruffle sleeved dress with a gathered empire waistline. Click HERE for the entire tutorial and happy sewing! Autumn also has this Ruffled Raglan Tee Tutorial for a different style ruffle sleeve top!

Autumn used BOLT by Girl Charlee Cotton Spandex Knit Fabric for her dress, but most stretchy knits with good drape like Cotton Lycra will be perfect to use. A few of my picks from the store:
For more ideas, patterns and tutorials, follow Girl Charlee's boards on Pinterest.

Don't forget to sign up for our email updates to keep up to date with all our New Fabrics, Sales, Giveaways and all our Knitty News! Click HERE to sign up!

Happy Sewing!

~ Mark & The Girl Charlee Team

Friday, 1 September 2017

August Knit Picks & New Fabric Friday!

Today we have 3 very different but equally cute new fabrics for you.

For the animal lovers we have pretty pink flamingos on coral orange cotton jersey and black elephants on taupe cotton jersey, perfect for cute T-shirts, PJs and more!

Or for something a bit different, how about this amazing pink/grey camouflage cotton jersey which would make a stunning wrap dress or leggings! 

Click your favourite below or see all our New Arrivals HERE.
Although the summer weather hasn't been the greatest, it has produced some absolute scorchers in the form of Girl Charlee makes by our talented customers.

Below are our selection of (some of) the best to give you inspiration for your next project.

Keep your pictures coming, we love to see what you're creating with Girl Charlee fabrics. Tag us on Instagram (@girlcharleeuk) or email us your pics (sales@girlcharlee.co.uk).
Item: Self drafted dress!

Fabric: Red Pink Roses Photos on Black Cotton Jersey (OOS but lots of other lovely floral fabrics available HERE)

By: @tarceys

Fabric: Red Rose Lattice Cotton Jersey Blend Knit Fabric

By: @yayjanine

Fabric: Palm Tree Silhouettes on White Cotton Jersey (OOS but available in this Aqua Stripe Version)
Item: Sallie Dress by Closet Case (Poses directed by daughter Beth!)

By: @redwsews


Fabric: Robin Egg Chevron on White Cotton Jersey (OOS but lots of other colours available HERE)
Keep sharing your pics via Instagram / Facebook / Twitter (don't forget to tag @girlcharleeuk or #girlcharleeuk), or email them to us sales@girlcharlee.co.uk

Sign up to our email newsletter to keep up to date with all our new fabrics, competitions/ giveaways and all the Knitty News! The sign up box is HERE or on our website.  
Happy Sewing!
~ Mark & The Girl Charlee Team